Having your wisdom teeth removed can cause anxiety. The possibility of developing dry socket can also cause nervousness. But with proper preparation and by following instructions for recovery, you can likely avoid this uncomfortable condition.
The medical name for dry socket is alveolar osteitis. It’s a complication that can occur after having a tooth extracted, which can slow down the healing process and make you feel uncomfortable.
The highly qualified dentists at all of the locations of Solomon Family Dentistry want you to enjoy a speedy and healthy recovery when you have your wisdom teeth removed. We’re offering these tips to help you avoid dry socket.
What is dry socket?
When you have a permanent tooth extracted, such as a wisdom tooth, a small blood clot forms at the site. This blood clot protects the bone and nerves in the empty socket where your tooth was. It also helps the site to heal, as new tissue grows over it.
If that blood clot dislodges or dissolves too soon, the bone and nerve endings are exposed to the air you breath, food you eat, beverages you drink, and anything else that you put in your mouth. It also makes you more susceptible to infection and pain.
Risk factors for dry socket
Some people are more likely to develop dry socket than others. For example, smoking raises your risk of dry socket substantially. Other risk factors include:
- Taking birth control pills
- Other medications
- Poor oral hygiene
- Past history of dry socket
- Infection in your tooth or gums
Some of these are things you can control. You can choose to not smoke during your recovery, and you can take care of your mouth by following our guidelines after your surgery. You should discuss your medications with your doctor before your procedure to find out if you should not take them or if a lower dose could be taken to aid your recovery.
Other risk factors, such as a history of dry socket, are beyond your control. But, your dentist may suggest additional preventive measures like using an antibacterial mouthwash or gel before and after your surgery.
Symptoms of dry socket
If you have severe pain a few days after your procedure, you should contact our office right away as it could be a symptom of dry socket. Other symptoms include:
- Seeing a whitish or empty-looking socket where the tooth was removed
- Bad breath
- An odd, unpleasant taste
- Being able to see the bone where your tooth was
- Pain in your ear, eye, temple, or neck on the side where your tooth was removed
Preventing dry socket
We give each patient thorough, individualized instructions for what to do after surgery, and the best way to avoid dry socket is to follow them carefully. Ask any questions you have before your procedure and take steps to prepare for your recovery. For example, make sure you have cold and warm packs to use, and appropriate food available.
We suggest rest on the day of your surgery, and in some cases for some time afterward. Your dentist bases recommendations on your specific situation. It’s a good idea to drink lots of water after your procedure, but best to avoid alcohol, caffeine, carbonation, and hot drinks. You should also avoid straws because sucking can dislodge the blood clot.
If you have questions about recovering from having a tooth extracted, schedule an appointment. Our experts are always happy to answer your questions based on your individual circumstances. We have six locations for your convenience around Summerville and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and look forward to helping you enjoy excellent oral health.